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The Serpent's GiftGnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion$
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Jeffrey J. Kripal

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226453804

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226453828.001.0001

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Conclusion Return to the Garden

Conclusion Return to the Garden

(p.162) Conclusion Return to the Garden
The Serpent's Gift
University of Chicago Press

This chapter returns to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, rereads its mythical narrative, and then fashions it anew in an explicitly allegorical fashion; that is, it seeks to transform the precritical mythos of the biblical text into a postcritical logos of the author's own literary text—in this case, a fourth and final logos mystikos, or mystical reason. Actually, however, there are three separate movements to this final gnostic reason: (1) a bimodal model of human consciousness that can take seriously the altered states of consciousness and energy that constitute so many of the origin points of the history of religions, while staying true to the legitimate concerns and ethical commitments of Enlightenment reason; (2) an analysis of the role that bodily energies play in empowering the cognitive, moral, and imaginal capacities of the intellectual life; and, finally, (3) a specific bimodal empowered logic derived from (1) and (2) that can be fruitfully applied to contemporary theoretical debates within the study of religion. The chapter also offers examples of three modern gnostic intellectuals who have embodied different aspects of this mystical reason: Sigmund Freud, the French novelist Romain Rolland, and the Yale literary critic Harold Bloom. Together, such figures suggest that the gnostic model for the study of religion is neither anomalous nor unreasonable.

Keywords:   logos mystikos, mystical reason, human consciousness, bodily energies, intellectual life, Sigmund Freud, Romain Rolland, Harold Bloom, religious studies, Gnostic model

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